The new hydrogen-powered Riversimple Rasa prototype is now out on the road for testing and boasts that its only tailpipe waste product is water. Built around a hydrogen fuel cell, the idea behind the prototype is to create a car that is simple and efficient enough to be made for widespread use on the road.
According to the Riversimple website, the Rasa is a two-seater vehicle that has been driving its way through the traffic of London. Capable of a top speed of 60mph in ten seconds, it’s not going to be a car that’s great for long journeys down the motorway, but for those who need a get-around for city living, it looks like the Rasa is going to be just the ticket.
The chassis of the car is light as it’s built from carbon fibre composites and the whole monocoque chassis weighs under 40kg, which brings the total weight of the car up to 580kg.
Running the car are four electric motors, one in each of the Rasa’s wheels, and the motors also act as the car’s brakes. By using them in this way, the British manufacturer has been able to recover more than 50 per cent of the car’s kinetic energy when the driver is braking. Storing the energy of the Rasa are super-capacitors, which provide most of the power for the car’s acceleration.
By using lightweight materials and considering the storage and re-usage of energy, the Rasa produces an efficiency that is groundbreaking and it has a range that is atypically impressive of a low-emissions car. According to figures from Riversimple, the Rasa prototype will be able to do 250mpg, with a full range of 300 miles. With regards to its emissions, these record as zero from the vehicle’s tailpipe and 40g/km of CO2 from well-to-wheel, all from 1.5kg of hydrogen.
The model is instantly recognisable as a low-emissions vehicle with smooth lines, a round-headed front end and gull wing doors that are reminiscent of Back To The Future. Awaiting further funding, Riversimple expects that another 20 Rasa cars will be ready for testing with customers later this year.